I settled into my little bungalow (located metres from the stables) and although I had been in transit for some 24 hours, still went for a walk and then had a lesson already organised with Frederico at 6pm! Nothing like getting on a horse for a lesson under lights after a long haul flight. I rode Hostil, a 4yo Lusitano who is being trained as a school horse. He was a little fresh in the cold and had the added distraction of kids running around the "campo da futebol" (soccer field) next door! After lots of bending and suppling work, he went very nicely and Frederico was able to identify things to work on with my position. Namely, getting my foot further into the stirrup, relaxing my shoulders and getting my seat following the horse.
That evening, I managed to order dinner via the interwebs (and then got a phone call from the delivery driver to clarify my address. Was a little tricky when he spoke little English and me no Potuguese!). I then finally collapsed into a very deep slumber for a blissful 9 hours. Ahh!
The next morning (Wednesday) had I had another lesson on Hostil. Unfortunately a film crew had set up on the property next to the main arena, so we very quickly moved when poor Hostil (pictured above) became unsettled.
We then worked on lots of suppling work for Hostil and it became evident that I need to be more firm with not accepting distracted behaviour when riding any horse (my own included!). Frederico also did some off horse exercises with me, including using a special chair to loosen hips/pelvis and to be able to isolate that movement from the rest of my body. When I stepped back onto the horse, I was much freer through my body and better able to follow the horse's movement.
After my lesson, I set off to locate the closest supermarket - an adventure in itself. It is often the little mundane things like grocery shopping I find most fascinating about travel (made even more interesting when most of the labels are in Portuguese!) I had to make a few educated guesses about what I was buying. It was also interesting to note that most of the meat here seems to be "cured" (eg bacon, sausages hams etc) and that seafood is a staple. I don't think I saw any lamb chops or steak selections like at home.
In the afternoon, I had my first lesson with Sarah, on the schoolmaster, Vingador. He is amazing! So patient and kind. Once again, it was more position work for me, getting my right elbow and wrist to unlock ("soft elbow, wrist up!") and stop drawing up my right leg. We worked on flying changes, getting me to open my hip more on the side I'm changing to.
I then was able to fulfil one of those lifelong dreams of learning to ride piaffe and passage. I was like a kid in a candystore. Passage is pure magic - the feeling of power and elevation is amazing. We just did a small amount, to give me the feeling....and yes, like good chocolate, a small taste had me wanting more! (Now I'm inspired to learn how to train it....)
I finished Wednesday by a walk to Guincho beach to capture the amazing views. I think I walked about 8km as well as riding twice - once again, I slept soundly!
Next installment - Lateral work on Vingador, shopping in Cascais & riding Filo.